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6th March 2024

Why foil blankets don’t work

A foil blanket is what comes to mind when you think of an accident at the roadside, a lost hiker, or a runner after a marathon. These blankets, sometimes referred to as emergency blankets, or space blankets, are not the effective hypothermia prevention solution they claim to be.

In emergencies, every second counts, and your equipment can’t let you down. Here is why you might want to reconsider using foil blankets as part as your emergency kit…


What are foil blankets?

Foil blankets have a shiny, silver, futuristic like appearance, and were originally designed to be used in space! Hence their nickname, “space blankets”. They look like a very large piece of aluminium foil.

These type of blankets are mostly made from a thin plastic – polyethylene terephthalate, also called mylar. The plastic is then coated with a very thin layer of vaporized aluminium, resulting in a thin but flexible material.

They work by preventing the evaporation of sweat, and trapping the natural heat your body radiates. While this can be an effective and simple method of preventing hypothermia, in many cases, only one side of foil blankets is metallized. In addition, both sides of foil blankets typically look like same.

Meaning in the dark, or in a frantic state, you may put the blanket on the wrong way! Resulting in no benefit at all.


Don’t let foil blankets foil your plans

For some, taking an emergency kit on a hike, for playing outdoor sports, or having one in the car is a sensible idea. However, you need to ensure the products you choose are going to serve you well when an emergency does occur.

A foil blanket is certainly better than nothing, but there are better options on the market. As they can be cheaply made, and are already thin, space blankets offer little protection against the elements. They may be waterproof, but this alone does not ensure adequate shelter. The thin and flimsy nature means you may have to contend with a flailing blanket, as well as whatever the weather has in store.

They may be easily torn and punctured, by thorns or branches, leaving the wearer unprotected in some areas. The material composition is noisy, and with the blanket wrapped around your shoulders, wearing the blanket can be an unpleasant experience. In worse case scenarios, the loud noise may attracted unwanted visitors, or prevent you from hearing a rescue team.

Sitting or laying on top of a space blanket will not be able to prevent any heat loss, which is certainly not ideal for the tired and injured. For these reasons, some outdoor experts suggest heavy duty bin bags are just as effective as foil blankets!


What are the alternatives?

Emergency blankets are a simple yet effective solution to preventing hypothermia, however, not all blankets are created equally. THERMARMOUR blankets consist of four innovative layers of fabric, culminating in a high quality solution. The four layers consist of;

Outer foil layer: Non-conductive, soft-touch, waterproof & windproof

Central foil layer: Reflective, insulating with very low emissivity

Inner foil layer: Provides strength & a moisture barrier

Thermal fleece layer: Optimised for airflow with minimal linting

Supplied in compact packaging, THERMARMOUR blankets require no additional heat source, making them suitable for a variety of emergency scenarios. Our emergency blankets provide high visibility levels, without being blinding.

Furthermore, THERMARMOUR blankets are waterproof and windproof. The carefully considered fabric is lightweight, yet weighs enough to stay in position, and to keep the casualty warm as they move, or in tough weather conditions. Inside the blanket you will find a soft lining, keeping you as comfortable as possible as you await further assistance.



Find out why THERMARMOUR is the emergency blanket choice among outdoor enthusiasts, hikers, swimmers, and the emergency services. Take a look at the key features of THERMARMOUR blankets:

  • 200cm x 150cm
  • No heat source required
  • Compressed packaging for ease of storage
  • Can be cut to size
  • X-ray compatible
  • Latex free
  • Standalone single use
  • Waterproof & windproof

Ideal for:

  • Emergency services
  • Search & rescue teams
  • First responders
  • Military personnel
  • Outdoor enthusiasts
  • Private medical providers
  • Recovery vehicles and breakdowns

If you want to know more about THERMARMOUR emergency products, you can watch our product videos, or download the data sheet.

Categories: Emergency

Tags: emergency blanket, foil blanket, hypothermia, hypothermia prevention

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